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Ocklawaha man jailed after spat with neighbor who videoed him

Kurtis James Smith

An Ocklawaha man was arrested after he allegedly grabbed a neighbor by the arm and took away her phone while she was video recording him arguing with his wife.

Kurtis James Smith, 57, of 11740 SE 130th St., was charged with battery (second or subsequent offense) and petit theft after the incident, which happened around 7:05 p.m. Monday in the victim’s front yard.

The victim told a Marion County sheriff’s deputy that Smith’s wife came to her residence after getting into a fight with him. She said while she and Smith’s wife were talking, Smith drove up to the residence, got out of the vehicle and started yelling for his wife to get into the car. The victim said she started to record the incident on her phone in case something happened, according to the sheriff’s office report.

The victim said Smith noticed her videoing and started yelling at her to turn off her phone and delete the video. She said Smith then walked over to where she was standing and grabbed the phone out of her hand. The victim said while Smith was grabbing the phone, he grabbed onto her wrist to get her to let go of it, the report said.

The victim said Smith started to run off with the phone to destroy it but decided not and returned it to her. She said Smith’s wife then got into the vehicle with him and they went to their trailer, which is next door to the victim’s home, according to the report.

The deputy viewed the video taken by the victim while Smith was grabbing the phone from her. The deputy heard Smith yelling at the victim for videoing. After a short time, the victim yelled, “Get your hands off me,” and the video showed a white male wearing camouflage shorts and black Puma slides walk away with the camera pointed towards his feet, the report said.

The victim’s friend, who was outside and witnessed the incident, said she saw Smith come to the residence and start yelling at his wife. The witness said Smith became upset with the victim for videoing. She said Smith went over to where the victim was standing, grabbed her wrist, took the phone and started to walk away with it, according to the report.

The deputy went to Smith’s house and spoke to his wife. She said she was at the victim’s house after she and Smith had gotten into an argument. Smith’s wife said he came over and picked her up, but nothing else happened. Her account of what happened changed multiple times while she was being questioned and she was reluctant to provide information to the deputy, the report said.

Smith, who was wearing the same camouflage shorts and Puma slides that appeared in the video, initially said he was there to pick up his wife and they left without incident. He eventually said he got upset he was being videoed and took the phone out of the victim’s hand. Smith said he started to run off with the phone but decided to return it. He said the altercation did not become physical and he did not grab the victim’s wrist, according to the report.

A computer check revealed that Smith was previously convicted of battery in 1989 in Tampa. He was taken to the Marion County Jail, where he’s being held on $10,000 bond. Smith will appear in Marion County Court on Aug. 4.

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